Easy Tip for Emptying Bagless Vacuums

28 May

Dog owners know that vacuuming dog hair can be … well, hairy. Between clogged hoses and hard-to-reach buildup in your bagless canister, the hair can overwhelm even the sturdiest vacuum cleaner.

I like bagless vacuums because I don’t have to buy bags. But I don’t like them because of how nasty it can be to empty the dirt canister when it’s full. And with two big dogs, mine gets full quickly.  The commercials show a neatly manicured hand pressing a button and the bottom popping off to let the debris fall into the trash. But when there’s hair involved, it gets tricky. The hair balls up behind the cone where you can’t get it out without reaching up there and pulling with your fingertips. Seriously, how gross is it to stick your hand up into the canister and pull on all that dog-hair cotton candy that’s literally infused with dust and crumbs? It’s the most unhygienic housecleaning task that I have … and I clean toilets. And I have a five-year-old son. ‘Nuff said.

But I discovered that the Cobra plastic drain stick will pull that knot of hair out the canister easily and quickly. It’s a plastic stick with barbs all down the sides. It’s used for pulling hair clogs out of drains.

I got to thinking one day, as my hand was covered with dust and there were clumps of dust and hair on the floor all around my trash can, “there must be a better way.” Yes, there are some vacuum canisters that you can pry open and slide the cone out from the outer cylinder. But first of all, it’s not easy to get them apart. And secondly, when you do, the hair and dust go everywhere.

My husband had purchased a couple of these disposable drain cleaners for our bathtub and sink drains. I grabbed one and stuck it up into the canister. And presto! A bunch of hair came sliding out the canister and into my trash can.

Now, a warning. You can’t wait until the canister is so full that the hair is backing up into the hose. We have an Irish Setter and a Shiloh Shepherd, and I have to empty my canister three times when I do my 2,000 sf house. I vacuum every 4 days or so to avoid too much buildup. But if you empty when it’s getting full, you can use this handy tool to grab that hair and pull it out.

It’s about $3 at home improvements stores. Cool, huh?


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